making connections, building your kula over two plates + blocking the barnacles

When it comes to people I have a very simple rule: if I can’t share a meal with you I don’t want to know you. Regardless of age, industry or income, food has the magical capacity to bind us, allowing for real, meaningful connections even if we don’t realize it. What we reveal about ourselves when faced with a table, napkins, flatware and plates goes beyond words — it’s something kinetic, visceral. We are our truest selves when exercising the most primal of acts: nourishment. We eat to sustain; we eat to comfort an ache and complete something within us that’s missing.

Whenever I meet someone I rarely go for coffee because it’s cheap and quick, and I’ll never truly know the kind of person you are until you’ve held a fork in your hands, until I see the shape of your face shift after you’ve taken your first bite. Do you fall deliriously in love with what’s on your plate? Are you present to appreciate the color and texture and taste of what you choose to put into their house? We have this one body, our home, and are you the kind who cares about how you’ve outfitted it {have you given care to the selection of fabric and wattage of the bulbs}, or do you just purchase exquisite finery to only discard it to the floor? Do you eat without tasting? Do you swallow without savoring? Do you spend your meals only for the sole purpose of getting a contact or lead, or do you genuinely ache for that spark, that hiss and spit of flame that happens when you’ve talked about the things that matter. The things you carry.

Over the course of a meal, I learn many things about a person. How attentive they are to the wait staff, if they reach to refill your glass before theirs, and if there is a pregnant pause after that first bite, because regardless of what’s being said, can I just tell you how good this is?

So many bloggers and experts and networkers will talk to you about acquiring fancy business cards and working a room. They’ll talk to you about follow-ups and how to work the rolodex, and while I appreciate the methodical nature of this hustle, it’s not my bag. While a large part of being a freelancer boils down to hustle, I focus more on cultivating what in yoga folks call a “kula” or community. I build the village around my house brick by brick. I mix the cement, I lay the foundation and I choose which bricks go where. I focus on how much I need and how I will build a village that will sustain me, that will lift me up, inspire me, and catch me when I fall.

I don’t own cards. Large groups of people give me vertigo. I tend to forget people’s names, and the idea of asking for favors outright feels unseemly. Instead, I meet people individually, and get to know them as people, and in that process projects, connections, favors are organic and thoughtful. I seek out my kindred spirits and collect them, and as I selflessly help them with no expectation of a return favor, I find that in the end my relationships keep me going, even when the darkness obscures everything in view. And these relationships are built on trust, mutual respect, reciprocity, creativity — not on a shared Google doc. Do we marry on the first date? Then how do we expect to unload ourselves, our platonic hearts, after one meeting? In a culture consumed with personal velocity, we don’t want hear that things take time, that we have to put in the work. We want the now, the immediate, the can you connect me with…


Have you ever asked yourself: do I know the people I know? Do I know what wakes them up in the morning and how they take their coffee? Did I make the effort to know this person for who they are rather than what they can give? Have we thought about what we can give?

I spent the day with two markedly different, yet equally brilliant, women. We talked about mentorships, our respective affections, and spent our time simply to suss one another out. Perhaps auditioning ourselves for the role of village member. We spoke about the mistakes people make: not making their intentions clear at the first meeting {someone once rolled up to a lunch with their resume in the guise of loving my blog, while another ambushed me with mentorship questions even before the menus hit the table}, or assigning us homework after. Our lives are so hectic that the idea of leaving a first encounter with an epic task list and a request to comb through your contact list is exhausting, and I tend to cut the barnacles before they’ve formed their spindly attachment. I remember a meeting with a woman who I really admired. She’s creative, smart, ebullient and had an enviable online presence. When I met her I was bummed that she had already defined our relationship as mentor/mentee, simply because of the fact of our decade age difference, and all the while I just wanted to be her friend. Mentorship is organic, not forced, and while I know we need to be strategic about our careers, our lives, I can’t help but want to pull back, to pause, and continue to build my house, my village, keeping out the folks who take rather than nourish and give. Folks who ignore the food on their plate. Folks who want to meet for a quick coffee. Folks who just don’t have time.

But isn’t time the one thing we should preserve? Shouldn’t we swathe our clocks in blankets and hold them close to our quick-beating hearts? If we value this time and we have so little of it, why not spend it meeting people who inspire you to go back and build that house rather than heading home and collapsing on the pavement?

Perhaps this is a long-winded way of saying I had a great day with great women and I expect nothing other than the excitement of getting to know them more.

Breakfast @ Egg | Late lunch at The Fat Radish


quick eats: sticky’s finger joint, new york

Normally I shy away from telling people that I’m a foodie, as the word carries a weight that my shoulders are unable to bear. The word conjures an idea that I’m trying every newfangled eatery, and my gastronomic vernacular is reduced to the last names of chefs and the obscure dishes they create. Truth be told, I don’t care about famous chefs, their books and television shows. I can do without the obscene dinner waits and the foraged plates. My affection for food goes beyond the glamour of it, but to ways in which a meal cultivates a community or creates a memory. Mine is a passion that seeks out the small, but tasty, joints, and places where I have to don finery.

After randomly reading a special on Gilt City (of all places!), I decided to check out Sticky’s Finger Joint, and believe me when I say it’s the real deal. On my deathbed, I want to be fork-fed macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers, kale and a slice of blueberry pie. My wants are simple, but the food has to be first rate. Normally, chicken fingers tend to be dry, over-fried, and greasy, but the goods at Sticky’s Fingers are the real deal. Tender breast meat, a well-seasoned crust, and a nice juxtaposition of texture and flavor. I didn’t go in for the sauces, as I tend to believe that good fingers don’t need accoutrements.

My one gripe lies with the truffle fries, which were severely over-salted. Bonus points for the fresh herbs and perfect fry texture, but I had to actually toss the fries as I couldn’t bear the salt.

Sticky’s is non-descript, far from fancy, but the fingers are absolutely worth the visit!

a week of eats, in grams

What’s better than a life on your own schedule, writing, and yoga during the day? FOOD. Endless amounts of it. Hatching plans over long lunches, celebrating minor victories and catching up with old friends and new, each week I find myself racing around the city, eating until I have to roll home on the subway.

1/2. Kale Salad + Cheeseburgers @ Back Forty West, Soho | 3. Delectable Chicken Panini + Kale Pesto @ Kaffe 1668, TriBeca | 4. Almond Croissant that Reminds me of Paris @ Cafe Dada, Brooklyn | 5/6/7. Rosemary Mac + Cheese, Kale + Citrus Salad, Fried Chicken @ Bubby’s, TriBeca | Creamy Pasta Pesto @ La Pizza Fresca, Flatiron | Cashew (Vegan) Mac + Cheese @ Squeeze Truck in Union Square

quick eats: il cantuccio, new york + an evolving blog direction…

Admittedly, the sandwich below might not look like much, but I assure you that there’s real delirium in every bite. So much so that I found myself ordering this sandwich (a symphony of perfect focaccia, prosciutto d’parma and mozzarella) an hour before my spin class without even considering the consequences of this my feckless act. [Note to self: sandwich before spin = BAD IDEA]

When people learn that I’ve cultivated a lifelong commitment to finding and inhaling the best eats I can find, they start rattling off names of newfangled eateries where one pays for the plate rather than what’s actually on said plate. I don’t care for scenery; I turn up my nose on haute reservations or secret numbers because delicious, simple food should be savored by all. So if you crave the swank eateries, you won’t find them on this space. Rather, you’ll find the gems I’ve taken so long to research, sample and evangelize.

Before I rhapsodize over the almond delights at Il Cantuccio, you may have noticed that I’ve been going through a chrysalis of sorts. Over the past few months I’ve worked incredibly hard to create a space that brings you the very best of what I eat, find, bake and cook — all through the point of view of someone who believes that love, that life, is inexplicably bound to food. As the months press on, you’ll start to see food itineraries and recommendations from my travels (the spots that are rarely in guidebooks coupled with some of the usual suspects) and a deeper focus of bringing my passion for baking to the fore.

What you won’t ever find: advertising, sponsorships or anything that deviates from the core of my virtual home.

I have an idea of where this journey will lead me, and I’ll make a bold pronouncement and say that you’re part of it. I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for your comments, your thoughtful and heartfelt emails filled with encouragement, and your help in pointing me to new recipes to make, new foodies to meet and new places to explore. I hope you’ll be part of this journey and give me feedback along the way.

But back to Il Cantuccio! I’ve been quietly hitting (translation: pacing in front of the storefront, waiting for it to open) this spot for simple, choice sandwiches made from the finest of ingredients — all breads and baked goods made by hand and imbued with a Tuscan sensibility. From the aforementioned focaccia to the biscotti of Prato, also known as cantucci or cantuccini, to the warm croissants and morning pastries, you’ll enjoy a quick, delicious bite without breaking the bank.